uealse Happiness - Dr. Dina Evan's Columns

Archive for the ‘Happiness’ Category

Don’t Worry – Get Happy!

Yeah, right! We are on the brink of war with Iraq, We have a President whose I.Q. we can’t even find and we are screwing up the planet! Let’s all party, get happy and live it up!

Do we really even know what happiness is or how to achieve it?  Maybe it has more to do with our perception and perspective than George Bush and our bank account. The Dalai Lama says, ”The purpose of life is to be happy.” Yet, as Mark Epstein says, “We seem to have a love hate relationship with happiness. On one hand, we see it as our right and something we need to pursue above all else, and on the other hand, we denigrate those in pursuit of it, labeling them frivolous, shallow, superficial or not responsible. “

Until now we have dealt with happiness by way of addition and subtraction; subtract poverty by adding money, subtract loneliness by adding a partner, subtract depression by adding a pill…and the majority of us have still not created lasting happiness with all these pursuits.

Maybe happiness, as well as unhappiness is an inside job. Is happiness really about getting rid of the things, the feelings or the people who make us unhappy?  Or, is it about the sense of equilibrium that the masters talk about of walking in balance holding both ends of the continuum, the joy and the sadness of life, without being attached to either.  We are so busy fighting the challenges and hard feelings that we are missing all the good things in life.

In my belief system there are always opposites; what I perceive as good vs. unpleasant, joyful or sad, close or distant, and when there is an up, I know there will inevitably be a down. It’s all about how I choose to deal with it.  It’s all about two sides of the same coin.

Most of us just want the high. A high profile client of mine in the movie industry exemplifies this dilemma. After a great day on the set, she wants a gourmet meal and to be taken care of by her husband. After a great meal, she will want a cigarette.  After a cigarette, some on-line shopping and emails to friends is in order. Then she’ll want to make love. She’s never really happy in the moment, just being with herself or being herself.  Instead, she’s constantly manipulating her external world in order to get satisfied. Nothing is ever enough. Nothing makes her happy. Some of us go from one relationship to another, one addiction to another, one job to another or one place to another…always seeking the same thing, happiness.

Happiness is already here, inside of you.  It lies in simple acceptance – acceptance of ourselves, acceptance of our paths and challenges in life and acceptance of others. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive for the best possible life, but we also need to remember that is not about avoiding the challenges in life because they are unavoidable. It’s about how we choose to deal with them.

It is all about how we view the world and the events in our lives. It’s about our perspective.  Everything just is what it is…life happening – no hidden agendas, no ulterior motives or bad luck, just life happening.  When the stock market takes a dump, no one was out to get you.  When the person you’re dating finds she’s not interested, it’s not about you being unlovable. When the company has a big lay-off, you didn’t do anything wrong. When some guy rear-ends you, you’re not having bad luck. It’s all just life happening.

Happiness is about being able to tolerate the down sides of life, and knowing the next wave will be an up one.  Stop, what you are doing right now. Take a breath. Listen to the birds, or the traffic or the sprinkler outside. It’s an absolute miracle that you are here, alive, and able to participate fully in your own live. Happiness arrives when you are fully present and aligned with yourself. When you are not happy and can’t find anything for which to be thankful, it is you who is at fault, not life. Happiness is a choice. See what happens when you choose it.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.

Make Me Happy!

I have spent some time lately thinking about what really makes me happy. When I was younger, I used to think having a mom who wasn’t an alcoholic would have made me happy. But now that I am older, I see that she was really a master teacher in my life who taught me the value of love. Had she been standing around loving me, perhaps I would not have learned to love myself.

As I got older, I thought getting married would make me happy. I did that a couple of times. I didn’t have the skills I now have. It didn’t make me happy.

I then spent 14 years in women’s movement thinking if I had equality, I would be happy. After the insurance companies defeated the E.R.A., I decided to give equality to myself and in that same instant; I began to have an inkling of an understanding that nothing and no one “out there” has the ability to make me happy “in here.”

So, I started a spiritual quest. I studied every religion, every teaching and theory I could find, and although each one had a grain or more of the truth, not one made me happy.

I have had ecstatic moments -the kind that astound you. They arrived in the center of an “I love you,” in the center of an orgasm arising out of that love, in the center of an undeniable truth and in the center of every authentic moment. In every case, the ecstasy came from connection. Connection creates happiness.

Happiness comes from connection; connection to oneself and every feeling and thought that you have, connection to every other human being, and finally, connection to the universe or some sense of Spirit, whatever you might believe that to be. It’s about being authentically present to your own life. It’s about accepting the abundance of information and growth available in this lifetime, on this journey. It’s about a willingness to let go of needing any end destination, and instead, simply falling in love with the journey.

Plato once said, “Of all the things which we have, next to the gods, our souls are the most divine and most truly ours.” Here we sit with the most fascinating, joyous, incredible opportunity to push our souls forward and get enlightened and the only prerequisite is that we get connected. Out of the center of that connection comes everything we will ever need to know about ourselves including what we feel and believe, what we fear and avoid, what we are addicted to, what we dream about, what we are here for, our purpose and destiny. It’s an awe-inspiring array of opportunities.

Happiness comes from the little things like taking a moment or two in the car to turn the radio off and listen to your own thoughts. It comes when you stop to feel gratitude and appreciation for the fact that you are taking that next breath, seeing that beautiful sunset or have someone precious sitting across from you. It comes from slowing down and realizing there are other people in your world who care about you. Happiness comes from opening the door to the unfamiliar or new and ecstatic experiences. It comes from realizing that right here, right now, you are still alive and all the choices are still yours. You get to decide what the quality of your own life will be.

Happiness comes from inspiring, liberating, teaching and nurturing others. It comes from giving in some way, without expectation or return. It comes from anonymous acts of kindness and sudden acts of bravery and courage. Happiness comes from living a life with meaning and purpose.

Happiness is about being nude in the rain, barefoot on soft green grass and emotional vulnerable with someone you love.

Clearly, happiness is an inside job. The more closed you remain, the less happiness you will have. In order to experience happiness, you must be willing to take a deep breath and take an abandoned jump into life as if it’s all there is. After all, it is.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

All rights reserved. No part of the intellectual property of Dr. Dina Evan may be reproduced, placed on mechanical retrieval system, transmitted in any form by electronic, video, laser, mechanical photocopy, recording means or otherwise in part or in whole, without written permission of the author. Contents are fully copyrighted and may not be owned by any other individual or organization.